While there’s no shortage of websites that sell jewelry, there is a dearth of sites that showcase fabulous, little-known designers and offer opportunities to learn about them—not to mention the chance to take part in jewelry-related field trips.
This is the experience that the new StoneandStrand.com is offering: a well-edited collection of designer jewelry for sale to collectors with an appetite for educating themselves both about artist and jewel. Profiles of designers and the gemstones they adore are written in witty, Style.com-esque voices that are presented in crisp layouts with professional fashion mag-style photography.
The operation—which is equal parts business endeavor and editorial glossy—was founded by business consultant and Wharton grad Nadine McCarthy Kahane, who enlisted Brooke Magnaghi, JCK‘s stylist, to serve as creative director to help to identify and enlist vendors. The combined strengths of both women—one has a nose for business, the other an eye for fashion—give Stone & Strand shoppers an experience that focuses on emerging design, craftsmanship, and storytelling. Personal concierges within the invitation-only club dubbed The Strand, meanwhile, help buyers find the right styles, offer access to jewelry experts—including a staff gemologist—and can even go as far to make your dinner reservations to ensure presentations are flawless. Among the first club experiences offered: a tour of Christine Brandt’s Brooklyn-based studio to meet the artist and see more of her works up close. The site aims to offer a personal jeweler experience in the online arena, with starting retail prices for jewels as low as $100.
The circumstances of the launch originated from Kahane’s post–B-school desire to help friends find an appropriate online outlet for their jewelry. That mission—coupled with her love of “unearthing rare treasures in undiscovered locations”—helped her decide to bring a more intimate shopping experience to the Web.
Since the site launched mid-April with 24 designers, including Ray Griffiths, Anna Sheffield, and Anna Ruth Henriques, it has seen more than 10,000 unique visitors and 70,000 page views. Each artist has a “cult-like” following as well as a “strong point of view,” says Magnaghi.
Stone & Strand creative director Brooke Magnaghi
This week, Kahane told JCK that interest has stretched from Russia to Brazil, and that many shoppers “have very specific ideas of what they are looking for,” she said. Examples include pieces from Alison Lou and Sabine G., which are among the site’s up-and-coming talents. Another lesson that Kahane has learned: “It takes time to build customer trust in this business—and we definitely acknowledge this!”